I feel like I have writer’s block.
I don’t know what to say to you guys anymore. Read the rest of this entry »
Last night*, we watched Midnight in Paris, ate cheese and baguettes and sipped on alcoholic beverages. Last night, a vision of a fromagerie was born, where artisan cheeses would be served to customers who love food as much as we do. Last night, a storm was born and raged for a short while. Read the rest of this entry »
I went home this past weekend to visit my family and ooh and aah over my sister’s wedding photos. I don’t always get home as often as I’d like to, despite the fact that my family only live a 2 1/2 hour drive away. Our lives get busy, work doesn’t always co operate and sometimes, there just isn’t the time.
However, I did get to drive home after work on Saturday, listening to the Joy the Baker podcast and finally wearing a light, summery dress – the weather is warming up, people! Despite my penchant for winter and all the fun it brings, there’s something undeniably uplifting about a warm, sunny day, light sandals and country air.
There’s something about autumn that just makes me happy. In Melbourne, you get all the cold wet miserableness of winter, plus the pretty colours and occasional sunlight of autumn. It’s May, so that means we’re definitely in the swing of cold, blustery autumn. I love it.
I started uni again a couple of weeks ago and just after I started, I discovered this youtube channel and stopped studying before I started.
That’s not entirely true. My general dispensation to stay inside and read, combined with my intense nerdiness which means I geek out over textbooks (textbooks. Not even awesome soon to be published by favourite author who’s going to sign all the first printing of his new book books but textbooks. NERD ALERT) combined with the terrible weather combined with OH MY GOODNESS ALL MY CLASSMATES ARE SMART I NEED TO PROVE MYSELF ness means I still study. But still, I procrastinate. Not only by watching youtube videos but also by baking.
Unfortunately, I seem to be much more able to convince myself not to bake than not to watch youtube (here’s the probable reason why) but fortunately, when I do bake, I make some pretty awesome things.
Like these rolls.
They’re adapted from the most popular recipe on Joy the Baker, Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread, but I made the dough into rolls because I don’t own a loaf pan. Also because I knew that cream cheese glaze would work on cinnamon rolls. Because I still had some left over from when I made carrot pineapple cupcakes.
These were amazing. They are best eaten straight out of the oven, with or without the cream cheese glaze on top (alternatively, for a more complementary cream cheese glaze you can blend the cream cheese with icing sugar and milk until it’s silky smooth and drapes well over the buns.)
This is the song I was listening to when I made the buns:
I freaking love this song!!
And the one I listened to as I ate them:
Clearly I still have some issues to do with procrastination (and perhaps vlogbrothers…) but I have to say, it’s true that when I have to do something, like for uni, I procrastinate, whereas when I do it just for fun, it tends to happen a lot faster. And so I just have to pretend I’m not going to uni and not getting anything for this assessment that’s due in two days, and it’ll happen really quickly! Yay!
It’s been 21 days since the project started and there are some updates, but I don’t want to post twice in one day so you’ll have to wait until an as yet undetermined date. DFTBA.
UPDATE: I wrote this the day the first project incarnation was supposed to “end” but I’m posting it now. Please don’t hate me. The project is failing miserably but I’ll write more later.
Adapted from Joy the Baker
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons plain flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
200g unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (approximately) sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
Whisk together 2 cups of the flour, yeast and salt and set aside.
Whisk together the eggs and set them aside.
Melt the butter with the milk in a saucepan. Let it cool slightly and add the water. Cool so it doesn’t kill the yeast (about room temperature is fine).
Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the milk mixture. Mix it together, then add the eggs and mix them in. Mix until it’s all incorporated, then add 3/4 cup flour and mix until that’s incorporated.
Place the dough in a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.
*At this stage, you can refrigerate it until morning.
Deflate the dough (if you’re taking it from the fridge, just leave it out for about half an hour first) and knead in 2 tablespoons of flour. Let that sit for five minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Melt the butter. Butter a large baking dish. (Do this. I didn’t. Do.)
Now, roll out the dough until it’s about 50cmx30cm. Brush it with the melted butter, then scatter the dry filling ingredients all over it. Roll it up into a log and slice into thick rounds. Arrange these on the baking tray and let rise another half hour or so. You can preheat your oven now to 180 degrees C.
*Alternatively, at this point I refrigerated my buns overnight. I let them sit for half an hour in the morning while my oven was preheating, and then…
Bake the buns for about half an hour, until deep golden brown. Share with your housemates. I said share! I know it’s difficult. Do it.
Wow! It was my birthday six whole days ago and I still haven’t told you about the amazing food experiences I experienced!
This is terrible. I am a bad food blogger. I haven’t even written since then. At all. It’s been pretty busy.
Well, there’s time enough to rectify. For me, birthdays are a lot about the food, pretty much equally about the people, and not much about the presents (although the presents are very nice. Thanks for the presents.)
So I decided to have my favourite meal for my birthday – brunch. I love brunch. It combines sleeping in/lazing in bed in the morning, and breakfast food. Best. Ever.
Unfortunately, I don’t know a whole lot of brunch places near my house so we decided to go to one I’d been to before, even though it’s in Abbotsford – three bags full.
I have to pause here for the amazingness of the place to sink in.
Wow. So, we drove to Abbotsford to eat brunch – well, I had brunch, in the form of twice-baked french toast with chestnut cream and quinces. So good. My tummy’s rumbling remembering the deliciousness. It wasn’t too soggy or crisp, it was beautifully creamy and eggy and the chestnut cream was amazing. The quinces weren’t too sweet and there was exactly enough for me to finish it and be full, but not too full.
And I drink coffee in the form of cappucinos. three bags full has some good coffee. They get it from Five Senses and offer a range of blends and signature origins and different kinds of brews… I just drink cappucino. And it’s really really good.
For dinner, then, we changed scene and went to Grill’d. Grill’d, for those of you who don’t recognise the name, is a chain of burger places. Now before you click away, hear me out – they’re not burgers like McDonald’s make burgers. These burgers are amazing.
Being vegetarian must be a bit of a hindrance, you might be wondering, but you’d be wrong! There are three different vegetarian burger options, each with their own toppings and custom name, even. They have lamb, beef, chicken, steak sandwiches, salads and amazing chips. People, we have a winner. Let’s just say that I don’t often enjoy vegie burgers. I love Grill’d.
All right, all right, you must be wondering about the cake. It’s a birthday, right? There must be cake.
Well, there was a slice of New York Cheesecake from Secret Recipe which was lovely and creamy and pretty good as store-bought cheesecakes go, although I have to say that the real cake is on it’s way! Stay tuned for some fun times!
This is what I did today.
I browned some butter.
Zested a lime.
Listened to some Eminem… yeah, I did.
I buttered a muffin tin.
Whisked together some eggs and milk and vanilla.
Whisked together some spelt flour and baking powder and plain flour and salt. And sugar. Can’t forget the sugar.
I took photos without the flash because they look less harsh that way. Maybe a little fuzzier and retro looking. That’s ok.
See my blue fingernails? I don’t usually paint my nails because I work in hospitality but my two week (almost – had to work yesterday:) break meant I could. Hence. The green and red tea towel matches the cranberries and limes. My favourite apron, complete with pocket for my camera, and the moccies I always cook in.
I opened the curtains and was glad the heater worked.
I stirred the contents of three bowls and a saucepan together – and then I washed those dishes while these muffins baked.
I made myself a cup of coffee. Mmm… coffee…
And then I ate me some muffins.
Sometimes, I forget that I have to look after myself, forget trying to fill other people’s holes, and let God fill mine. Sometimes, I have to remember that I have something to offer as well, but I have to take time to be me and do stuff for me otherwise I’ll lose it. Sometimes, you just need to make some muffins and some coffee and sit down and eat them. Because it’s good.
Sometimes you just need to bake for you. Not for anyone else, to get anyone’s attention or friendship or love or acceptance or gratitude. Just for you, because you love to bake, the physical action, the ingredients, sights, smells, tastes. Just because.
Brown Butter Cranberry Lime Muffins
Adapted from Joy the Baker
100g butter, unsalted
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon (or capful) vanilla extract
zest of one lime
1 1/2 cups plain flour – I used 1 cup wholemeal spelt and 1/2 cup plain white. Good.
1 teaspoon salt
170g dried cranberries (or 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, if you have them)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Butter and flour a 12 cup muffin pan (I never usually do this but I was out of paper cases. By all means, use them if you’ve got them.
If you’re using dried cranberries, pour them into a bowl and cover them with 1/2 cup water. Set aside.
Place the butter in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan. Melt for about ten minutes on medium-low heat. Keep a close eye – you want the butter to be brown, not burnt. Swirl the pan every few minutes. It’ll get frothy and emit a beautiful nutty smell. Take off the heat.
Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla and lime zest together.
Whisk the sugar, flour(s), salt and baking powder together.
Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour all the wet ingredients in (not the cranberries!) and stir together.
Drain the cranberries and fold them in thoroughly. Scoop into the prepared muffin tin and bake 18-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Cool 5 minutes in the tin, then invert and cool on a rack or board. Eat at once, or when at room temperature.
Today I got up fairly early. I have gotten up earlier, and on a regular basis, but today was slightly different. I’d stayed at my sister’s because I had an exam today. My last.
Yay! No more uni for five weeks!
So, today I had an exam. Then I had some errands to run – tickets to pick up, spare tyres to order, you know, everyday stuff like that. (not mentioning that it’s the second spare tyre I’ve had to get in the past couple of months. Me and my car, we’ve had some ups and downs.)
ANYway, by the time I got home it was past one, and I hadn’t eaten since seven. I’d had two coffees, but coffee does not a meal make. Well, maybe breakfast sometimes. Anyhow, I had this plan to fry some eggs and eat them on toast with butter and cheese. I was so hungry and so ready to eat but then I remembered that our stove blew (it’s electric. Luckily the oven’s still ok, otherwise I’d be going stir crazy).
Anyway, I wanted eggs. And carbohydrates. And cheese. And when I thought about it, some mustard, salt and pepper, tomato wouldn’t go astray.
Take a ramekin and rub it with butter. Lots of butter, if possible.
Tear up some bread (turkish bread is really nice…I used bread from the bakery0
Add some cheese and tomato.
Some more bread and cheese
Now crack two eggs in a bowl (I did one, but then added another later)
Add some dijon mustard…
Whisk and pour over the bread
Crumble some cheese over the top and bake for about twenty-five minutes in a 180 degree oven
Try not to burn your mouth!
I say almost because I kinda forgot an important ingredient.
See, when you make muffins – even awesome muffins born from the cinnamon walnutty goodness of last post’s cookies – it’s kinda important to have some sort of ingredient that works together with the other ingredients and does some sort of scientific thing that not only helps it to taste awesome but makes it rise and makes the texture fluffy and lovely.
It’s a leavening agent. Yes, ladies and gents, I forgot the baking powder AND the baking soda. I am a very smart cookie.
But I’m a nuff nuff muff muffin.
They taste really really good, don’t get me wrong. They taste just as good as the cookies. (maybe even better. I don’t have a direct comparison. We ate all the cookies already.)
I get this feeling I’m missing something in my life. Flour one day, baking powder the next… I don’t know what’s going on. Baking still calms me down and makes me happy, but I think I need to … re-evaluate or something. Journal more. Be more. Just be.
This is why it’s a good thing that holidays are around the corner. This is also why I’m trying not to freak out about the fact that I’ve got two exams in the next two days, and I’ve been procrasti-baking and procrasti-cleaning and procrasti-tooling around on the internet for the past week. Or so.
It’s ok. I have almost-muffins. And hot chocolate. And Glee.
And I’ll be even more ok when I visit my Oma on Friday for her birthday.
It’s a pretty special occasion. She’s turning 21! No, that’s me next year. She’s… thirty! No, no one needs that freak out again. Or do they?
40? She is looking pretty good for her age.
Keep going… Ok, no, we’re actually going to stop there. Let’s just say that it’s rude to ask a lady her age, and my Oma is grand and wonderful and mature and sometimes giggles like a schoolgirl with me and my sister and our mum.
And her party is going to be so much fun! But I can’t think about it until after my exams.
Well, after these two anyway. I do have another (yep, I chose four subjects that have exams in my first year of university) but it’s not for a couple of weeks and I’m going to smash it out of the water. Just like I’ll smash these and the one I did today.
Ok, time to stop talking about [exams] and tell you about these muffins you absolutely have to make.
Just don’t forget the baking powder. And soda.
P.S. Please tell me about them! I was totally going to make a new batch but I’d run out of walnuts. And dates. And there weren’t any apples. And my nose is cold. And this blanket is warm.
125g butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup greek style yoghurt (I’m sure other plain yoghurt would work just as well)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup walnuts, chopped
about 3/4 cup dates, chopped
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup ground almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Beat the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla and scrape down the bowl, beating until fluffy again. Stir in the yoghurt and milk.
Using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients (you can sift ‘em first if you want to … or not…) and the walnuts and dates. Scoop tablespoonfuls into patty cases lining muffin tins (I have a feeling these would be brilliant in the kind of huge, Muffin Break-esque texan muffin incarnation. Try it. I dare you.) Bake… in a 180 degree oven… well, mine took about twenty-five minutes but I don’t know how leaveners change the baking times. So, check them regularly. Then eat them.
I know what I’m having for breakfast.
This morning, I had a proper Sunday weekend breakfast.
Here’s what I did. I sauteed an onion, a couple cloves garlic, some green capsci and one very small potato in butter and olive oil. (Mmm, smell that garlic!)
Place that one aside for later.
I then used the same pan and melted some more butter, added cream and reduced it a little. I stirred in a handful of baby spinach (I heard someone kinda likes baby spinach… just a little… I’ve been CRAVING greens the whole week) and cracked an egg in, to poach for a couple of minutes. (Idea from NY Times via… someone? I can’t remember who posted about this! I feel it was a passing mention.. sorry!)
While that was going on, I made coffee, in my coffee bowl. It’s really nice to drink coffee out of a bowl, you know? Mine’s actually a ramekin I got from Spotlight. I feel it will become a large part of my future. I’m totally sitting here, sipping hot chocolate out of it RIGHT NOW.
Now put the cream sauce with spinach and poached egg in the same bowl as the ‘breakfast hash’ (thanks Joy the Baker for the idea!), add a couple spoons of yoghurt to the mix (Greek style being my favourite and a perfect accompaniment, I have to admit. I don’t think any other flavour would be right. But hey, your choice:) and when you take your first bite, don’t be surprised if you have a foodgasm.
Oh my giddy aunt.
Now, to be honest, I didn’t eat this at five am. I didn’t even get up at five am. It’s doubtful you’ll ever see me up at five am unless it’s absolutely necessary. But a five am moment is when you create your day. When you sit down to your breakfast and you are proud of what you are eating because it’s organic, local, good for you and most importantly, delicious.
I have never understood people who don’t eat breakfast. If I don’t eat breakfast, everyone within a ten metre radius knows it because my stomach announces it to the world about an hour after I’m up. A delicious breakfast is the perfect way to start the day. Most of the time, I’m in a rush and so I have a bowl of muesli (the only cereal I eat. And the only pre-made muesli I’ve bought that I’ve liked is Carman’s. Just saying.) or some toast and a coffee. And only the coffee if a)I have time and b)I know I won’t be getting coffee where I’m going. I get it free at work, see, and I figure the less I drink, the better it is for me. It’s a treat. A daily treat, yes, but a once only daily treat.
five:am yoghurt is the brand I bought most recently, and the write-up in Epicure was why. I wanted to find out more so I read this article, but the basic scoop is that five:am yoghurt is made from organic milk and comes from farms that are free from pesticides, herbicides, hormones and antibiotics. The yoghurt itself is free from gluten, gelatin, preservatives and starches and has no artificial colours, flavours, stabilisers or sweeteners. It’s absolutely amazing. My breakfast was a party in my mouth, I’m telling you. And made all the better knowing that the owner of five:am yoghurt has a background in sustainable packaging. Yays!
Make yourself some awesome breakfast this week. If not for you, then for me. Please?
Party for One Breakfast
1 small brown onion, peeled, halved and sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 side of a small greed capscicum, diced
1 small washed potato, sliced thinly
1/2 cup cream
handful washed baby spinach
1 large egg
2 tablespoons yoghurt
Saute the onion and garlic about a minute in 1 tablespoon butter. Add capsci and potato and fry about five to ten minutes, until the potato is tender.
Scoop into a bowl and set aside.
Melt remaining butter in the same pan. Add cream and simmer a few minutes, reducing the cream. Stir in spinach and crack in egg. Carefully ladle some of the cream over the top of the egg and poach about three minutes.
Slide spinach and cream with egg onto the hash mixture. Add yoghurt and enjoy.